Oireachtas passes Bill banning zero hour contracts

Oireachtas passes Bill banning zero hour contracts

A Bill banning zero hour contracts has been passed by the Oireachtas.

The new legislation bans if-and-when contracts except in situations of genuine casual employment or in emergency situations.

The Employment Bill has been described as one of the most significant pieces of employment law in a generation.

    The main provisions of the Employment Bill are:

  • Employers must give employees basic terms of employment within five days;
  • Prohibits zero hour contracts except in situations of genuine casual employment and where they are essential to allow employers to provide cover in emergency situations or to cover short-term absence;
  • A new minimum payment for employees called into work but sent home again without work;
  • Banded Hours provisions: a new right for employees whose contract of employment does not reflect the reality of the hours they habitually work whereby they will be entitled to be placed in a band of hours that better reflects the hours they have worked over a 12 month reference period;
  • Anti-penalisation provisions: The Bill provides strong anti-penalisation provisions for employees who invoke their rights under this legislation.

Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty welcomed the passage of the Bill.

"I am delighted that we have managed to clear this Bill through the Oireachtas before the end of the year and I would like to thank the politicians of all parties who have supported its passage," she said.

"This is one of the most significant changes to working conditions in a generation and, crucially, will improve the security and predictability of working hours for employees on insecure contracts and those working variable hours.

In a changing world, this reform ensures that the legal protections for all workers will match the conditions experienced by a modern workforce and make a real difference in the lives of thousands of workers.

Labour senator Ged Nash said the Bill will transform the lives and living standards of thousands of workers on casual and low hours contracts.

“This new set of radical employment rights reforms will mean that from next year, workers who are currently going to bed on a Sunday night not knowing how many hours they will work that week and consequently what they will earn will have much more certainty over their hours and security over their incomes," he said.

“This is the least that people who work hard for a living should be entitled to expect.

"Those in precarious work in Ireland have waited long enough for greater legal protection and an enforceable floor of decency in terms of working hours for all workers."


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